This article was originally published in the June 2003 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser.
One hundred years is a long time for any manufacturing concern to carry on, especially a company that manufactures something as nonessential (only practically speaking!) as motorcycles. In fact, of more than 100 companies that produced motorcycles at the beginning of the last century, only one besides Harley-Davidson remains active—and that company (Indian) was shut down for nearly 50 years and has no direct connection to the original firm.
Not only has Harley-Davidson survived the century, it has absolutely thrived. One of the most successful motorcycle manufacturers in the world, the iconic Motor Company defines the essential cruiser style, oversees a global marketing juggernaut and has written the classic economic success story of our time. In 2003, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the company, Harley-Davidson has good reason to celebrate.